Heart unit verdict date

Campaigners arriving at Downing Street, London, to hand in a petition of over 500,000 signatures at number 10, against the possible closure of The children's heart surgery unit at Leeds General Infirmary. Pictured Sharon Cheng, Director of the Children Heart Surgery Fund, and Heather Wardle Senior Sister, along with MP's and campaigners.
Campaigners arriving at Downing Street, London, to hand in a petition of over 500,000 signatures at number 10, against the possible closure of The children's heart surgery unit at Leeds General Infirmary. Pictured Sharon Cheng, Director of the Children Heart Surgery Fund, and Heather Wardle Senior Sister, along with MP's and campaigners.

THE FUTURE of the children’s heart unit at Leeds will be decided in July.

Judges at the Court of Appeal, last Thursday, ruled that an NHS review of children’s heart services carried out by the Joint Chairs of the Primary Care Trusts (JCPCT) was lawful.

The consultation includes four options, one of which would close the unit at Leeds General Infirmary. The process was challenged by London’s Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust.

Children’s Heart Surgery Fund is the charity working with parents, doctors and MPs across Yorkshire to fight the closure of the unit in Leeds.

Director, Sharon Cheng, said: “We are of course disappointed by the decision not to uphold the appeal against the Judicial Review.

“We have, however, received assurances from JCPCT that it is considering configuration options other than those recommended - some of which do include Leeds after we made the case for a further ‘Option E’ to Sir Neil McKay, the JCPCT Chairman.

“Maintaining the Leeds Unit is the only way of ensuring a safe and sustainable settlement for the North of England given the issues we have previously put forward regarding patient travel assumptions and minimum operations expectations. We actively expect that JCPCT is looking at configuration options which would preserve Leeds.”

JCPCT has announced it will make its final decision at a public meeting on July 4. Everyone involved in the fight in Leeds including Rastrick parent Mary Dennison, will await the result with anticipation.

The review, being carried out by the NHS’ Safe and Sustainable, could see facilities in Leeds closed down and moved to Newcastle, or even one unit in Liverpool remaining open to deliver services to the entire North of England.

The facility currently provides services to 5.5 million people, with a population of 14 million within a two hour drive of Leeds.

Widespread support for the unit has been seen from parents, patients and stakeholders since the campaign began, including 600,000 people who signed a petition in support of the unit in Leeds City Centre.